Where do pilots go on holiday?

By British Airways The Club magazine

Photography by Franckreporter/Getty Images

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March 2017

Still looking for holiday inspiration for your big 2017 break? We asked a panel of well-travelled British Airways pilots which destinations they want to visit this year – and which new routes are on their radar.

Central and South America

The lowdown from Captain Rob de Martino, Airbus A380 fleet

I’m looking forward to our new Boeing 787 planes flying to Lima and San Jose (Costa Rica) in 2017. Sandwiched between the mighty Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the approach into Lima takes us over the mountains where, on a good day, we are treated to some of the most heart-stopping views. Costa Rica is so vibrant and was named the world’s happiest country in 2014. It has everything from fantastic beaches and wonderful wildlife to eco forests – and the best coffee.

Sandwiched between the mighty Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the approach into Lima takes us over the mountains where, on a good day, we are treated to some of the most heart-stopping views

Where to stay

Costa Rica: Set on the hip Playa Panama beach, El Mangroove is a stylish hideaway, flanked by the rainforest, mangroves and the Pacific Ocean.

Florida: Join the cool crowds at W Fort Lauderdale, where poolside parties and generously sized rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows are the order of the day.

New route on your radar?

I always enjoy returning to Florida, so I am thrilled that Britsh Airways will be flying to Fort Lauderdale from July 2017. An alternative gateway to the dynamic city of Miami (a 30-minute drive away), it’s a great jumping-off point for a cruise to the Bahamas or Caribbean.

Book a riverboat cruise from Fort Lauderdale

  • The pretty Croatian seafront city of Pula © Spanic/Getty Images

    Good old days

    While many people associate Pula with Rome, thanks to its impressive ruins, the city’s history stretches far further back – to 40,000 or even 1 million years BC. Book flights from London to Pula from:£38 each-way

    Fly to Pula
  • Camels outside the Treasury at Petra in Jordan © Urs Flueeler/Getty Images

    Did you know…?

    A Unesco World Heritage site, Petra got its name from the Greek word petros, meaning ‘rocks’. It’s also known as ‘Rose City’, thanks to its rose-red coloured sandstone hills.

    Book flights to Jordan
  • Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil, located in Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone © dabldy/Getty Images

    Artistic licence

    Rio de Janeiro legalised street art in 2014, turning the city into a colourful outdoor art gallery. Street artists are allowed to decorate columns, walls and construction siding, as long as they’re not historically designated.

    Explore Rio de Janeiro


The lowdown from Senior First Officer Ilkka Tahvanainen, Airbus A380 fleet

We’re flying the A380 to Miami in the winter season. It’s one of my favourite places because there’s so much to do in the area, from beaches to shopping, plus the Everglades and Florida Keys are within driving distance. As a bit of a space aficionado, I also love the Kennedy Space Center, where you can try the Shuttle Launch Experience simulator – it apparently provides an even more realistic ‘ride’ to orbit than Nasa’s own crew-training simulators ever did.

New route on your radar?

I’m excited about the flight to Oakland, which will give an extra entry point to the San Francisco city and Bay Area. Be sure to explore the nearby Napa and Sonoma wine regions while you’re there.

Where to stay

Miami: With an oceanfront setting, chic 1950s décor and a decadent rooftop spa, The Confidante by Park Hyatt is the perfect base for a weekend in Miami Beach – no wonder Condé Nast voted it the number one hotel Miami in 2015.

San Francisco: Just a short drive from Oakland city centre, the trendy Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf is designed for modern-day road warriors – think big desks with ergonomic chairs, a 24-hour business centre and Bee Kind branded toiletries in the bathroom. Plus it boasts some of the largest guest rooms in the area.


The lowdown from First Officer Chloe Harrison, Airbus A320 fleet, Gatwick

I’ve always wanted to explore Canada and discover its vast national parks – 2017 marks the country’s 150th birthday, so all 47 of Canada’s parks are offering free Discovery Passes for visitors throughout the year – as well as its majestic heritage sites and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. As a keen rider, I’m also excited about the mountain-biking scene there – it’s home to some of the best bike parks in the world.

Book a cycling tour of Vancouver

New route on your radar?

I fly over Croatia quite regularly, so would love to do a road trip there from Pula, taking in the undulating hills and scenic coastline.

Where to stay

Canada: The grand, imposing Fairmont Chateau Whistler sits at the base of Blackbomb Mountain, so it’s no surprise that it appeals to snow lovers in winter. The service is always top-notch, whether you’re unwinding in the spa, enjoying a spot of afternoon tea or dining at one of its four fabulous restaurants.

Pula: Located on Pula’s rugged coastline, and just a short drive from its historic amphitheatre, Park Plaza Histria has everything you need for a relaxing beach break, from an on-site spa to a fine-dining restaurant with a seafront terrace.

The Middle East

The lowdown from Senior First Officer Aoife Duggan, Airbus A320 fleet

After a long week at work, there’s nothing better than waking up to the sunshine over the Arabian Gulf in Dubai (when I fly as a passenger). On the descent into the airport, there are wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa. I’m also a big fan of Amman, because I love taking a day trip to the Dead Sea for some rest and relaxation. Petra is also a must. It’s one of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve been to.

Book tickets to At the Top, Burj Khalifa

New route on your radar?

Zante. I’ve never been to any of the Greek islands, but I fly over them regularly and they look stunning.

Where to stay

Dubai: Romantic and enchanting, The One&Only Royal Mirage – Arabian Court is ideal for couples looking to unwind in stylish surroundings: think marble bathrooms, a decadent hammam, and a private beach.

Zakynthos: Just mere steps from the beach, Lesante Luxury Hotel and Spa is a seductive and luxurious hideaway that’s ideal for families and couples alike. Don’t miss dinner at its Neptune Pool Restaurant – and be sure to book a table right by the water’s edge.

  • Costa Rica’s Catarata del Toro waterfall at sunset © Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

    Top tip

    The best time to see the waterfall is between 07:00 and 17:00, Monday to Saturday. Access to Catarata del Toro is through private property, so there’s a charge of $10. Book flights from London to San Jose, plus a seven-night hotel stay from:£716 pp

    Book flights and hotels

Rio de Janeiro

The lowdown from Senior First Officer Stuart Green, Boeing 777 fleet

I’m always excited to fly to Rio de Janeiro. The city has such a great buzz about it, particularly in the favelas (shanty towns). I run a UK-registered climbing charity for disadvantaged children there called Urban Uprising that helps a local school in Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela. Approximately 100,000 people live in the houses that sprawl across the hillside, all centred on Oscar Niemeyer’s famous bridge. It’s also five minutes from the beautiful Sao Conrado beach.

New route on your radar?

I’d love to visit Santiago to explore the surrounding vineyards that sprawl from the foot of the Andes, before venturing north for stargazing in the Atacama Desert.

Book a wine tour from Santiago

Where to stay

Rio de Janeiro: The boutique Porto Bay Buzios has prime location on Rio’s iconic Copacabana beachfront. Its contemporary rooms come with views of the beach and Sugarloaf Mountain, but its rooftop pool is the place to head for pictures that will really get you plenty of Instagram likes.

Santiago: The 205-room Ritz-Carlton Santiago brings the best of Chile together under one roof, from the Wine 365 bar serving tipples from the surrounding valleys to its rooftop pool, which has arched windows that provide brilliant views of the Andes.